January 25th, 2008
11:07 PM ET

Blog from the back row

NEW YORK (CNN) — There were supposed to be pictures tonight to give you a view of the control room from the back row. 

The photos didn’t happen because of late word from Chicago that a decomposed body, which could be that of Stacy Peterson, had been found at an industrial site in Chicago. However, If you had gotten those pictures you would have seen: 


– Our satellites coordinator, Brooke Turnbull, with multiple phones plastered to his ears, making sure that the two late guests and two late phoners actually made air at the top of the show


– Our video coordinator, Ashley Corum, frantically cutting new video of investigators at the site that was being fed in from the field 


– Our line producer, Jenny Blanco, doing rundown aerobics to make sure the hour did not become a 90 minutes showIn the end, Brooke got us the guests, Ashley got us the pics and Jenny got us out on time. 


Enjoy the weekend. See you on Monday.

Filed under: AC360° Staff • Behind The Scenes
January 25th, 2008
08:29 PM ET

America: The promising

This morning, as I was walking to the subway – in a rare moment when I actually looked up from my Blackberry - I saw a child running towards me. A boy – he couldn’t have been more than 9 or 10 years old.

His face was full of joy and expectation as he ran towards his school, his mother, his friends or whatever it was behind me that caused him to come charging past. 

Jami Floyd

Jami Floyd frequently comments on issues of the day.

And I smiled.

Because you see – this boy was black. A young African-American child on his way to school, unaware of all of the obstacles he will face in this world. An unemployment rate that is higher for black men than any other segment of the population, a life expectancy that is shorter, an appalling incarceration rate and a drop-out rate that is unacceptable.

But I smiled. I smiled because this black child is also growing up in a world of possibility.

For the first time, a black man has a very real chance of becoming president of the United States.

So I smiled, because, even though he likely doesn’t know it yet, that little boy has a reason to be joyful today. 

Even if Barack Obama is not elected president, that black child will grow up knowing that someday – he could be.

And that means this is a new and better country – an America that holds out promise to all of its children.

- Jami Floyd, "In Session" Anchor/360° ContributorRead more Jami Floyd blogs on "In Session"

Filed under: In Session • Jami Floyd
January 25th, 2008
04:01 PM ET

Erica Hill Cometh

Hard to believe this is my last day at Headline News - and that as of Monday, I will be a full time member of the AC 360 staff.

I am so excited about the move! I knew good things were in store, but when I read Anderson's blog entry from earlier this week and your responses, I really got pumped. You certainly know how to make a girl's day!

Erica Hill

Thank you for all of your kind words and wishes. I have a great time doing cut-ins with Anderson every night, and am looking forward to making a bigger contribution to the show. I am joining an incredible team of journalists both in front of and behind the camera, and I know I will learn so much from all of them.

A warning to the 360 team, though: I'm bringing some fun with me. If you subscribe to my daily Prime News newsletter, you know all about the show team's exploits and our many potlucks. I even helped to start a band on my show once (can't imagine why we didn't get a record deal!) There's more to this gal than cut-ins and dramatic animal video!

Thanks again for the warm welcome – I'm looking forward to making the move official.

Erica Hill, 360° Correspondent

Filed under: Erica Hill
January 25th, 2008
03:38 PM ET

Beat 360: Pic of the day

Afternoon bloggers! Ready for today's challenge? For those of you who don't know, we've started something new - Beat 360°.
Everyday we post a picture - and you provide the caption. Our staff will get in on the action too.

Tune in every night at 10p ET to see if you are our favorite!
Can you beat 360°? Here is today's "Beat 360°" pic of the day:

Here’s one to get you started, “Speaking of change, I think she needs one!”

Have fun with it. Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

Filed under: Beat 360°
January 25th, 2008
02:53 PM ET

Testifying from the grave: Yes, it's pretty rare

Some cases are so fascinating, so legally intriguing, that you have to make sure to pause and remind yourself that they are rooted in human tragedy.

Julie Jensen, a 40-year-old mother of two, was found dead, poisoned to death, in her home in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.

Julie Jensen family

Julie Jensen with her four brothers, from left, Patrick, Michael, Paul and Larry.

It turns out that Julie left a note with a neighbor saying that if she were to turn up dead, her husband Mark should be the lead suspect.

So is the note admissible in evidence during her husband's murder trial? Under the traditional rules of hearsay evidence, the answer would be no - because Mark Jensen's lawyer would have no one to cross-examine about the note.

But the Wisconsin Supreme Court said yes, the letter could be received in evidence, under a novel theory... basically that there is probable cause to believe that Mark Jensen had something to do with Julie Jensen's inability to testify. (Read the Wisconsin Supreme Court's opinion)

It's an interesting legal mystery. CNN's Gary Tuchman went to Wisconsin to cover the story, and Anderson and I will discuss the issue tonight on 360.

Jeffrey Toobin, 360° Contributor

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Jeffrey Toobin
January 25th, 2008
02:50 PM ET

In Davos: The U.S. On a Downhill Slope

DAVOS, Switzerland (CNN) - It is unsettling these days to be an American at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. 

When I first started coming here about 15 years ago, the U.S. was the centerpiece of attention and respect.  Especially after the Cold War, we were seen as a benevolent hyper power. 


I remember vividly how Larry Summers, then a professor, argued that not since the days of ancient Rome had there been such a large gap between the most powerful society on earth versus the No. 2 - in economic, political, military and cultural influence. Where there was some definite resentment among some of the leaders on hand, the more general reaction was one of warmth.

One felt extremely proud to be a representative from the USA.

That view actually started to change before George W. Bush took office, as others around the world worried how governable we are. Still, the immediate reaction to 9/11 was an outpouring of support and sympathy - so strong that the founder of the forum, Klaus Schwab, moved the January 2002 sessions to New York City as a message of world solidarity with the U.S. 

Never before or since has the World Economic Forum been held away from Davos.

Iraq brought a change here, just as it did in world opinion. The sessions just before and after the war started, touched off the greatest anger toward the United States that anyone can remember at Davos. It got pretty ugly in some sessions.  But the Europeans and others thought there must be a saving grace. Surely, they thought, the president is acting without much public support at home. 

How wrong they were. 

When Bush swept to a resounding re-election in 2004, the Davos of January, 2005 was one of pretty sullen resignation by delegates from other countries. 

By 2006, the mood changed again: ok, if you are not going to lead well in America, we will have to start moving ahead without you. By 2007, China and India suddenly became the center of attention as people spoke in awe of their growth and crowded into sessions on "Whither Asia?" 

Now this year, my observation is that people are following the election campaign closely but they are not at all optimistic that the U.S. is going to resume its world leadership role.  And there is far more despair here about the U.S. government's foot dragging on climate change than Iraq (fortunately, some U.S. CEOs like Jim Rogers of Duke Energy are much more aggressive in fighting carbon emissions than our government, so that helps in arguing that America may one day soon play a more responsible role on the environment.) 

Overall, I would have to say, Asia is seen as the future here while there is a big, big question mark hanging over the U.S.

Does any of this matter? I think it does.
Davos brings together about 2,500 leaders from business, finance, government, the academy, journalism and the like. One can dismiss them as elites, but for better or for worse, elites do play a significant role in shaping the course of events. 

If you believe, as I do, that it is critical to the future of the globe that the U.S. become once again a power to whom others turn with respect and for leadership, we need to pull ourselves back up.

We don't need to be the world's only superpower - we have to respect the right of others to share join leadership - but it will be a much more threatening world for our kids and grandkids if others rise and we continue on a downhill slope.   

- David Gergen, 360° Correspondent

Filed under: David Gergen
January 25th, 2008
12:03 PM ET

Bill Clinton: Helping, hurting or both?

Sitting in a college chapel in Columbia, South Carolina in my usual morning role: waiting for HRC - pondering the Bill Clinton card.

On the one hand, if somebody's going to go after Obama, shouldn't it be her -  a.k.a. the actual candidate?


When he's the pitbull:

A) She looks like she needs his protection - circa 1950 - not so cool for a woman who wants to be commander-in-chief. She is woman. She should roar - circa 1970.

B) Former presidents are supposed to be elder statesman. BC's off-the-rails pitbull thing is tacky.

C) The spectre of a co-presidency looms. As Joe Biden once said to me, "Can you imagine being vice president with him (BC) in The White House?" Or Secretary of State or National Security Adviser, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

D) BC is so strident vis a vis Obama, party operatives worry BC is doing permanent party damage.

He hurts her.

On the other hand:

A) He's her husband for heaven's sake, acting like a husband. It's not like their marriage is a secret. If she kept him chained to his chair in Chappaqua, then what would people say? Besides does anyone doubt she's a tough cookie?

B) When was the last time a former president's wife ran for president? Exactly. New role. New rules.

C) He's got a Democratic party approval rating over 60 percent; many democrats WANT him to have a big role.

D) Dems so lust for the White House, bygones will be bygones before June.

He helps her.

Pondering at an end.

HRC just took the podium, after cameo appearances from two New York imports - Rep. Charlie Rangel and former New York Mayor David Dinkins, both African Americans, who said race is not an issue in the campaign - a frequent refrain now from camp Clinton.

Gotta go listen, leaving you to ponder the Bill Clinton card.

Candy Crowley, CNN Senior Political Correspondent 

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Raw Politics
January 25th, 2008
05:35 AM ET

Morning Buzz

Morning....TGIF!!! This has been a long long week... Another debate last night, another primary tomorrow...Will Obama maintain his 13 point lead in South Carolina like the latest polls predict or will the "Bill factor" propel Hillary to another victory? All is fair in love and war....

GOOD news on the economy...we FINALLY have a deal on the economic stimulus package...let's hope it helps EVERYONE!!! And it definitely pays to tip off the authorities if you have suspicions about terrorism...A Minnesota flight instructor just received $5 MILLION...yes, $5 MILLION for notifying his boss about Zacarias Moussaoui's suspicious behavior...

Grab your coffee...and let's get started...here are your morning headlines...

Top Stories

Bush and House in Accord for $150 Billion Stimulus...
Hoping to give a quick adrenaline shot to the ailing economy, President Bush and House leaders struck a deal on Thursday for a $150 billion fiscal stimulus package, including rebates for most tax filers of up to $600 for individuals, $1,200 for couples and, for families, an additional $300 a child.

Bush speech to have few new ideas...
In a bow to political reality, President Bush's final State of the Union speech will skip bold proposals in favor of ones the country has heard before, a modest approach for a White House that prides itself on big ideas.

Teenager arrested in suicide hijacking plot...
Authorities have charged a teenage boy who said he planned to hijack a commercial jetliner in an attempt to commit suicide, an FBI spokesman told CNN late Thursday.

Troops could go to Pakistan...
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said Thursday that the United States is "ready, able and willing" to send troops to Pakistan if the government of the South Asian nation is interested.

Flight instructor gets $5 million for catching '20th' hijacker...
A Minnesota flight instructor who notified his bosses of student Zacarias Moussaoui's suspicious behavior received a $5 million reward Thursday from the State Department, two government officials told CNN.

Egypt sealing parts of border with Gaza...
Egyptian soldiers in riot gear formed a human chain Friday along parts of their county's border with Gaza, where tens of thousands of Palestinians have crossed back and forth with little interference for the last two days. 

Raw Politics

Obama with 13-point lead in South Carolina: poll...
Barack Obama has a 13-point lead on rival Hillary Clinton but his support has eroded slightly on the eve of South Carolina's Democratic presidential primary, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll released on Friday.

Clinton is unworthy?
Republican presidential contenders depicted Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton as weak on Iraq and certain to raise taxes Thursday night, setting aside their own campaign debate squabbles long enough to agree that she is unworthy of the White House.

GOP debate focuses on economy in wake of stimulus plan...
Facing a pivotal primary in Florida next week, the Republican presidential candidates jousted Thursday over who has the best background to deal with the nation's economic slump.

In the South, Echoes of Jackson's Run...
Nearly 25 years of social change, political realignment and demographic shifts separate the presidential candidacies of the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson and Senator Barack Obama. Even so, there are echoes of 1984 as the battle for the Democratic nomination once again roars across the South, focused squarely on African Americans.

Giuliani's Florida Win Appears in Danger...
Rudy Giuliani splurged on Florida, lavishing time and money on a high-risk gamble that the state would vault him to the Republican presidential nomination.

New York Times endorses Clinton, backs McCain over Giuliani...
The New York Times endorsed Arizona Sen. John McCain for the Republican presidential nomination over Rudy Giuliani and the rest of the GOP field, strongly criticizing the former mayor of its home city.

Clinton's Campaign Sees Value in Keeping Former President in Attack Mode...
Advisers to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton say they have concluded that Bill Clinton's aggressive politicking against Senator Barack Obama is resonating with voters, and they intend to keep him on the campaign trail in a major role after the South Carolina primary.

Crime & Punishment

Posing as girl, retired cop nabs prey...
No one will ever confuse Jim Murray with a teenager. His tall frame, broad shoulders and clipped gray hair give him away for the grandfather he is. But the 69-year-old retired police chief of this small Missouri town cuts a credible figure as a 13-year-old girl surfing the Web, looking for friends. He knows all the instant-messaging shorthand, the emoticons

Keeping Them Honest

Four California Museums Are Raided...
Federal agents raided a Los Angeles gallery and four museums in Southern California on Thursday, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, as part of a five-year investigation into the smuggling of looted antiquities from Thailand, Myanmar, China and Native American sites.

French Bank Links Lone Futures Trader To $7 Billion Fraud...
For five years, Jerome Kerviel toiled in the back offices of Societe Generale, learning the intricacies of the six-layer security system that France's second-largest bank used to protect its money, investors and customers from fraud, according to bank officials here.

360 Follow

Ledger's masseuse made 4 calls to Olsen...
The woman who discovered a lifeless Heath Ledger spent nine minutes making three calls to Mary-Kate Olsen before she dialed 911 for help, police said Thursday. She called the "Full House" actress a fourth time after paramedics arrived.

Winds of change sweep skid row...
Check-in at the Cecil Hotel had to wait a few minutes because Kerri Torrance, the clerk working the graveyard shift one night in November, had to deal with a heist.

What You Will Be Talking About Today

Colorado Lawmaker Censured for Kicking...
In the week leading up to his first day on the job, State Representative Douglas Bruce, a Republican, got into a lengthy dispute with the Democratic speaker of the House over the time of his swearing in.

Filed under: The Buzz